Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Partnerships

Early Years Teacher Status

Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS), also known as Early Years Initial Teacher Training, is an award for those who wish to become experts in the 0-5 age range. This qualification is designed for developing highly qualified staff who will lead delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage framework within the early years' sector and is accredited by the DfE (Department for Education).

All settings that support our EYTS trainees are automatically considered part of our partnership. Partnership working between Early Years settings and the University can provide all parties in the partnership with new opportunities for learning. As the trainees and you develop your understanding of the way in which different agencies and professionals work, the skills that you can offer each can offer and the different perspectives that you each bring can support the development of high-quality pedagogical practice. It is not just about sharing knowledge and experience, but also about bouncing ideas off each other, which can help to develop new initiatives into practice and impact on individual children's care, learning and development. Our Partnership aims to build communities of learning.

There are three different pathways in which trainees can become an Early Years Teacher.

Professional PGC (full-time)
This Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (ProfGC) is for people who already have an undergraduate degree in any subject and often applies to those who are new to teaching in early years and have little experience. This course teaches trainees how to provide high-quality early years education. An individual training plan is created that is unique to participant and supports them to use their existing and new skills to ensure all children have access to high standards of learning.

As part of this course, trainees will develop professional practice with children from birth to five years, and support and lead reflective practice and quality provision. The University provides local placements with dedicated mentors. The tuition fees may be covered by a DfE grant, and there are also bursaries of up to £5,000 for graduates with a First Class Honours degree, £4,000 for graduates with a 2:1, and £2,000 for graduates with a 2:2.

PGCE (Employed Route)
This route is suitable for people who currently work with young children at nursery age or in the early years of primary school who have an undergraduate degree in a related subject and permission from their employer to study and attend placements as necessary. The tuition fee is covered by a grant and employers are compensated for their release.

This part-time PGCE will support trainees to gain Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS) and deliver high-quality early education. The course supports trainees to ensure all children have access to high standards of learning. It is awarded to graduates who have been judged to have met all the Teachers' Standards (Early Years) in practice from birth to five years old.

This pathway is offered to all final year BA Early Years students within the university, they are given the opportunity to complete the EYTS alongside their undergraduate degree. This course teaches trainees how to provide high-quality early years education. The university provides local placements and dedicated mentors.

Teaching and the curriculum

Please find information here regarding the session outlines that each trainee will attend along with the year planner of taught sessions and typical times that trainees can attend block placements. In a typical week, learning takes place through a combination of lectures and seminars. Trainees will be able to discuss and develop their understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller group sessions, these discussions around pedagogy and practice support our aim of building communities of learning and we ask that you encourage the trainees to discuss with you their taught sessions to reflect on how they can implement what they have learnt into practice.


Throughout this course each trainee is allocated a mentor. Those on the Professional PGC and undergraduate route are automatically allocated a mentor by the university. For those on the PGCE route, you may already have someone in your setting who is a graduate and is able to dedicate time to mentoring the trainee. Alternatively, trainees can 'buy in' a mentor from the university from the grant given to them. All mentors from the university are highly experienced in the early years sector with a secure knowledge of the Teaching Standards (Early Years) and are given the opportunity to become accredited mentors.

The mentoring role throughout the EYTS program is to motivate and support each individual trainee. This includes observations of trainee practice every three weeks, where feedback is given, and targets are set relating to the taught curriculum and the trainee's professional development. Mentors assess how each trainee is implementing the taught curriculum into practice. Each trainee is expected to develop a portfolio of evidence to showcase their development across the curriculum for the duration of the course. Mentors will feedback on monthly reflective logs that the trainees write about their pedagogy and practice. There is an expectation for all mentors to attend training throughout the year provided by the University.

Mentors will:

  • Be contactable for support on a weekly basis.
  • Observe trainees in practice on a 3-weekly basis (even when you are on placement)
  • Attend mentor training/ meetings every 6 weeks (mandatory) (and two within the first three weeks of the
    programme starting).
Early Years Teacher Status- Mentor training and meetings.

It is mandatory for ALL trainees and mentors to attend. It is recommended that associate mentors attend training and meetings.

Current timetabled dates are:

Tuesday 12th Sept4-6 pmGreenwich campus Meet trainees
Tuesday 26th Sept5-7 pmGreenwich campusTraining stage 1
Tuesday 3rd Oct5-7 pmGreenwich campusTraining - Curriculum Areas
Tuesday 29th Nov5-7 pmOnlineFormative Assessment
Tuesday 16th Jan5-7 pmGreenwich campusTraining - Curriculum Areas
Tuesday 22nd April5-7 pmGreenwich campusMentoring Traning
Tuesday 11th June5-7 pmOnlineFinal Assessment
  • Be an early years graduate
  • Support trainees in practice by setting targets for their professional development and to develop their portfolio
  • Assess and feedback on trainees portfolios on a regular basis including monthly reflective logs and study packs
  • Hold regular reflective discussions with trainees and associate mentors on how trainees are implementing the taught curriculum into practice
  • Have their work quality assured by a member of the University early years team to ensure cross-programme consistency.
  • Write timely reports to support progression- at three points across the academic year
  • Feedback to the programme lead regularly on progression.

Associate mentors

Each placement/workplace setting should provide an associate mentor for the trainee for the duration of their placement. The associate mentor will be the ‘go-to’ person for the trainee and their mentor. The associate mentor should hold at least a Level 3 qualification.

The associate mentor will be involved in observing and documenting the trainees practice on a 3-weekly cycle and will then need to be available afterwards to hold a triangulated discussion with the mentor and trainee afterwards to reflect on the observation and how the trainee has been able to apply the taught curriculum into practice. The associate mentor will also support the mentor set developmental targets for the for the trainee.

Associate mentors will have the opportunity to attend training and gain an accreditation from the university to become a lead mentor for their setting.

The University appreciates the time commitments involved with this process on top of associate mentors' usual workload and would like to suggest that observation and discussion take no more than an hour combined every 3 weeks.

Associate mentors will:

  • Target set for trainees every three weeks to support their progress reporting on impact on children’s learning and development
  • Maintain, and keep records of regular contact with the trainee at pre-arranged meetings to plan opportunities and activities in line with the individual learning plan
  • As appropriate and where it does not interfere with the routine of the setting, offer ongoing support and guidance as part of daily working practice
  • Liaise with other members of the staff team to create opportunities for the trainee
  • Encourage the trainee to be reflective about her/his practice and the learning
  • Opportunities offered within the placement
  • Provide encouragement and act as a sounding board and support when the going gets tough
  • Liaise with the Early Years Teacher Status Programme Team to inform them of any issues and for advice and guidance.


EYTS Trainees are expected to have experience of working with all age ranges within the EYFS. Every pathway will have different placement requirements, these are highlighted within the course guides.

We encourage our trainees to participate in a variety of early years placements for example if they predominantly work in a pre-prep school we would encourage them to carry out a placement within an area of deprivation, or if all their experience is working within a Montessori setting we might encourage experience within a forest school.

The contact for early years placements is Mary Alexander:

Read the Early Years Newsletter Spring 2023 here.


We actively encourage research throughout the EYTS course and as a part of the taught curriculum trainees are encouraged to lead in an area of specialism within their settings/placements. The trainees are asked to reflect on the intention, implementation and impact of their specialism.

The Early Years academic team lead by example by conducting their own research on various topics, please see the links below for recent research carried out by the early years team:

i) The early years team have written a book, published by Sage. ‘Leadership in early childhood Challenges and complexities’ by Jill Harrision, Heather Munn, Rebecca Thistle, Diana Harris, Louise Atkins and Lauren Whale. This book is now available to buy on Amazon.

ii) Author spotlight: Leadership in early childhood

If you have a proposal for some research in the early years sector, please contact Lauren Whale to discuss your ideas and how we can support you to carry it out.


We offer free CPD to all our trainees and for a year after their graduation. CPD is also available to all our Early Years partners at a reduced cost. Details of the CPD on offer this year are listed below. If you have an area of professional development that you would like some support with then please get in touch as we offer bespoke CPD training for your individual settings needs.  The university has an accredited mentoring scheme where anyone in our partnership who has an undergraduate degree can become an accredited mentor.

The early years team hold an annual conference which all partners are invited to join, free of charge.